IDF Strikes Hamas Positions in Northern Gaza Strip

Army says strikes are response to earlier launches of incendiary balloons into Israel

An IDF strike in Gaza, February 2019.

The Israeli air force struck a Hamas military compound in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday night, and said in a statement the attack came in response to earlier launches of incendiary balloons into Israel. No casualties were reported in either case. "The IDF will continue to strike against these acts of terrors," the statement said.

The exchange took place as a delegation of senior Egyptian intelligence officials arrived in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday to meet with senior Hamas leaders in an attempt to ease tensions along the border and return to the understandings reached in the past between Hamas and Israel, Palestinian media outlets reported Tuesday.

Hamas says Israel has not kept its part of the understandings, including easing the blockade on the Gaza Strip, extending the area allowed for fishing and advancing infrastructure projects in Gaza, such as electricity production.  

However, the head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, says the Israeli special forces operation in Khan Yunis that was exposed in November was a violation of the understandings. In addition, Haniyeh said Israel has used the Qatari aid as a political tool in order to pressure Hamas.

The organization refused to accept the third delivery of Qatari cash in January, blaming the conditions Israel set for the transfer and claiming it failed to abide by its agreement to permit the funds to enter the enclave every month.